Harrison Barnes’ road to the NBA Championship “a whirlwind”


Matthew Rezab/Iowa State Daily

Grand Marshal Harrison Barnes takes time out for a photo with a fan before the start of the Ames 4th of July Parade on Saturday. Barnes led Ames High to consecutive state titles in basketball in 2009 and 2010. He now plays for the world champion Golden State Warriors.

Luke Manderfeld

Ames native Harrison Barnes returned home Saturday morning with his newly earned NBA Championship trophy in hand. Grand marshaling for the Ames 4th of July Parade, Barnes was greeted with seemingly endless rounds of applause and cheer. 

He wasn’t the star on the NBA champion Golden State Warriors, anything but on a talented team that is now a champion, but he stepped up in pressure situations and even had a few highlights to top off his run to a champion.

As Barnes started to address questions about his championship, his mouth turned to a crooked smile. Even though the championship was won in mid-June, he still felt the reminiscence of the winning feeling.

“It was nuts,” Barnes said. “It’s been a whirlwind. It’s something that you work hard for and working to win a championship is something you always want to do. To finally see that through, it’s much better than I ever thought.”

Barnes was a key player in Golden State’s path to the title. He averaged 10.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 32.4 minutes per game in the 21 games he played. 

Barnes had his moments throughout the playoff run, including a highlight-reel dunk over four-time NBA MVP Lebron James in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.

Barnes’ scoring opportunities were small in the first half of the game because he fell into early foul trouble. When he substituted in, he had an early chance to make a large impact.  

As Barnes’ teammate Steph Curry drove to the lane, he put up a left-handed layup that tipped off the rim. Barnes followed right behind to clean up the mess with a dunk over the extended arm of James to earned two points and the free throw. 

“That was crazy,” Barnes said. “[Curry] missed it perfectly. I saw Lebron come out and I thought the only way I can finish this is if I can dunk it and I ended up getting the and-one [foul and two points].” 

Barnes added that he would probably put a poster of the dunk in his man cave. 

Barnes’ performance in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals against the Houston Rockets also opened up some eyes to the level of skill from the Ames native.

With teammate Klay Thompson missing part of the game after taking a knee to his ear, Barnes stepped up in a big way, dropping 24 points. Thirteen of those points came in the fourth quarter alone. The Warriors clinched a berth to the NBA Finals with the win. 

“That was definitely one of my better games,” Barnes said. “[Thompson] had blood coming out of his ear and Steph was battling a concussion, so we needed someone to step up. I tried to come out and be aggressive.”

Barnes played for Ames High School and led the team to back-to-back 4A state titles in 2009 and 2010, in which the team went 26-0 and 27-0 during the season, respectively. Barnes averaged 26.1 points, 10.0 rebounds, 3.1 steals and 3.0 assists during his senior season.

For the future of the Warriors, Barnes believes the team will be a contender for the title next season as well. 

“We know our formula and we have a system that works,” Barnes said. “The biggest thing is just not assuming … we have to put the same amount of work in this year and we will have the potential for a deep playoff run again.”